By Jim Davis <i>HBJ Editor</i>
MARYSVILLE — Mollye Taylor showed a sense of humor from the beginning.
When she applied to be Verity Credit Union’s “mom blogger,” the Marysville woman sent in a minute-and-a-half-long video describing herself as a “mom who has it going on.”
“I mean my kids, I don’t let them run around like crazy,” Taylor said on the video.
She then included video of her three youngest kids chasing each other at full scream through the living room.
She bragged about her teenage son helping around the house. Then she spliced in footage of him sitting stone-faced on the couch playing video games.
And she talked about how she loves her husband Keith, but, within their circle of friends and family, she’s known as the one with talent.
Then she dropped in video of Keith, a Marysville fire captain, nailing the national anthem before a Seattle Mariners game.
It’s this quirkiness that helped Taylor become the Verity Mom blogger for this year.
It’s a part-time gig for which she’s being paid $20,000 for the year. She also received a MacBook Pro computer, an iPod Touch and a video camera. Taylor will write about her family, being a mom in the Puget Sound area and occasionally financial issues.
The blog is part of a strategy to attract moms and families to Verity Credit Union, which has six branches in the Puget Sound area including one across from Lynnwood’s Alderwood mall. It was originally a credit union only for federal employees, but has since changed its charter to allow anyone that lives, works, worships or goes to school in Washington state. The credit union created the “mom blogger” in 2009.
Taylor is the third mom to hold the role, said Melina Young, the credit union’s director of marketing.
“One of the many reasons we made that decision is the female head of household is responsible for over 80 percent — and as high as 88 percent, depending on the study — of the financial decisions in a household including choosing the bank,” Young said.
The credit union, which was chartered in 1933, came up with the strategy working with Vancouver, B.C.-based Currency Marketing.
The firm had crafted campaigns for other financial institutions featuring college-age students in the role of the blogger. Verity Credit Union used the same concept but flipped it to feature moms.
As part of the effort, the credit union made some other changes. One of those is adding a reimbursement program for the costs of extracurricular activities for kids.
The credit union will put $20 a year per child under 10 into the kid’s savings account when parents bring in proof of participation. That goes up to $30 for junior high school children and $40 for high school kids.
“Instead of offering pens and T-shirts and stickers, we started doing an activity reimbursement for any sort of activity, preferably a physical fitness activity, but not necessarily,” Young said.
The credit union also changed the name of its checking accounts from Velocity Checking to Cartwheel Checking.
With these changes, the question remains: Is the strategy working?
“It is less tangible than one would hope, which is kind of how marketing goes,” Young said.
But she notes the effort has attracted thousands of page views especially during the social media campaigns when the new moms have been selected.
Mollye Taylor heard about the campaign when one of the previous moms was giving a radio interview.
Last summer, she had just been laid off from her job of eight years as an operations manager for a human resources company when she heard the blogging gig was open again. She thought, “Oh, this is it, this is my chance, I’m going for it.”
She submitted her video with her family and a writing sample. She was one of 35 applicants and the Verity blog readers were asked to select their top 15 favorites.
Like many of the other moms, Taylor rallied her friends and family through Facebook, Twitter and other social media to support her for the job. It’s part of the test to see if the potential bloggers can generate interest online.
“You can’t just rely on people visiting the site and saying, ‘Oh I like Mollye Taylor,’” she said. “It was basically starting your own social media campaign.”
After she made the first cut, Taylor and the others were brought in for what was called a “Mom Meetup” at the credit union’s headquarters for more testing, including writing on a deadline and conducting a radio interview.
She and others were required to be able to understand financial institutions.
“By no means are they expecting us to be experts in the field, because we’re not,” Taylor said. “But we need to be able understand the lingo.”
Taylor made the final three. Then Verity blog readers voted Taylor as their choice.
Since starting in November, Taylor has introduced her family, husband Keith and sons Logan, 17, Levi, 9, Luke, 7, and Layton, 5.
She’s posted videos and interacted with readers.
She’s also written about buying her son his first car, going wheat-free for a month and breaking her foot the day after Thanksgiving.
“I love it,” Taylor said. “One of the reasons I love it so much is because Verity sees the importance that a mom plays in a home’s finances.”
Postcards from Marysville
Mollye Taylor of Marysville has been chosen as the “mom blogger” for Verity Credit Union. She will write about her life as a mom while occasionally writing about financial issues.